final language aquisition Essay Language Acquisition Motivation

Eric Li
Freshman Special Topics in Composition
Mrs. Canter
My name is Eric Li. I’m not telling you this because I think you give a damn, because I
wouldn’t, but the key thing to notice there is my last name, Li. If you’re not familiar with Chinese last
names, well…there you go. You just learned one! Congratulations! You just learned information that is
most likely totally useless! Woo.
I’d like to s
ay this essay is about how I first learned Chinese, a
heartwarming story where I somehow acquired the language all on my own through a Chinese
Superman comic book, but the truth is I suck like a deflating whoopee cushion making fart noises at
Chinese. So instead, this essay is going to be about why I failed to learn Chinese, providing my
perspective of failure on language acquisition instead of the perspective of success.
One major factor in my failure to learn Chinese is that

I didn’t learn it from an ear
ly age. Even
though I’m of Chinese descent, I was born in Newfoundland, Canada. Because of this, my native
language is actually English, not Chinese. In psychology, there’s a theory that there’s an optimal age for
language acquisition. However, after moving to the U.S., when I first started Chinese school at the age of
six, my optimal period for language acquisition may have already passed. However, even in that optimal
period of language acquisition my mom has told me that I had trouble with the English al
phabet, so it’s
not like there was any indication that I was a language prodigy to begin with. By the time I was going to
Chinese school every Saturday, I was already too integrated with English. Chinese seemed too difficult.
Unlike English, every word in Chinese has its own symbol and needs to be pronounced in a certain way.
Some words in Chinese sound exactly the same to the un-experienced ear, but in fact, have completely